A year ago I invited two friends from San Diego to come and experience this spectacle (and it is that) first hand, but pulling flower petals for the design that would be in the street where we are living. The town comes alive at night, with people sitting in doorways pulling petals off the local wild flowers, and sorting them by color. Beginning Saturday night the townspeople decorate the street with intricate designs, some secular, some religious, but all spectacular in the use of color and elements. This year one "carpet" had melons and cherry tomatoes in it.
Our friends arrived from the West Coast jet lagged and ready to go, although the temperatures were in the 90's. About 5 p.m. we set out into the country to find wild flowers, and spent about 2 hours picking daisies and cornflowers.
Heading back to Spello we put our friends to bed, and the next night we were picking petals off these flowers. This kind of Mr. Toad's wild ride happens every night, with teams going out to the fields and collecting what they will need for their designs, sometimes to the chagrin of the farmers' whose fields they invade. Our landlord tells a story of looking up into the muzzle of a shotgun while picking cornflowers; all was well, though, when she told him she was only weeding his wheat field.
On Friday all the cars in town must be parked outside the walls, and on Saturday tents begin to go up to protect the designs. Saturday dawned and there was a wind whipping through the medieval city, which was going to make the designing much more difficult. Imagine tiny eyelash size pieces of flowers being put onto a sidewalk. Some locations in town can't use a tent since the streets are so narrow, and that was the case on Via Giulia for our team.
Saturday night around 9 p.m., the work begins in earnest. The design in laid down on the street, some teams use white paper with the design hand drawn, others use chalk and the street to outline the carpet, and others use computer generated drawings with the color and type flower that will go into the design.
We worked till midnight on Sunday, then left for a brief nap and woke at 5. We headed along the route to see the work done by all the artists, heading to the bottom of the hill, and then making out way up the hill.
|Still working at 6 a.m.|
|This was the carpet we helped to work on|
|Our lady of Fatima|
|The wind took most of these designs during the night|
|At this point, exhaustion sets in|
|Good night moon|
|Dr. C. thought this molar was in honor of him being in town|
At 10 a.m. the bishop celebrates mass in the Church of San Lorenzo, and then processess through the flowers, around the town, carrying the blessed sacrament. There is a band, and lots of pageantry that goes along with this.
enoteca to say goodbye until September, and shared some wine (of course) and good food. I don't think life gets much better than this.